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Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar (a.k.a. Romneybot) has always had difficulties connecting with the common man. There’s his unfortunate “Nascar” gaffe, his claim that his wife drives more than one Cadillac, his apathy toward the poor, or perhaps best of all, his assertion that $374,000 is not a lot of cash. Oh, there’s also the whole dressage thing.

But thankfully for Mittensus, his recent “Tour de Poor” has helped his stilted, awkward, and assholish speaking style:

The Mr. Romney who emerged over this recent tour still came across as goofily old-fashioned, but he was also more polished on the stump, able to improvise and riff and better handle the surprises that naturally accompany a rambling motorcade through the heartland.

Yes, all you need to do is practice being around poor people and you’ll eventually learn how to charm them. His performance during this tour, however, is a damn sight better than his performance during the primaries, where “he delighted his traveling press corps by guessing voters’ ages and ethnicities (often incorrectly) and [proved] himself a gaffe-prone jokester.”

“You there, the fellow in brown–oh, wait, that’s your skin! Ha ha ha ha ha! Is your wife a Hottentot?”*

Alas, with his newly acquired skill of mimicking the conversations of the sweaty unwashed, he’ll surely gain ground among idiots who, despite common sense, will vote for a man that gives not a single zany fuck about them.

According to Mitt Romney’s website, this is what you can expect from a Romney presidency:

  • A bloated defense budget that relies on an outmoded idea about how modern warfare is conducted (unless we’re fighting a time-traveling British Navy, I doubt we need a bunch of new warships), coupled with the ridiculous idea that more privatization will lead to greater efficiency. I encourage you to read this if you’re at all concerned.
  • An educational system that disenfranchises the poor, and lines the pockets of people already capable of paying for private school; moreover, vouchers use taxpayer dollars to directly subsidize religious education. I’m sure American students brought up to believe that Jesus rode a dinosaur and that cell biology is the Devil’s work will be super-competitive against Chinese students who are building quantum transistors by the 8th grade.**
  • A ridiculous tax code that favors rich assholes by reducing the corporate rate (which many corporations don’t pay anyway), switching to a territorial tax system (a lovely plan which allows billionaires to hide money offshore–just like Romney!), and maintaining the insanely low tax rate for capital gains and dividends.
  • Also, an anti-state’s rights gun policy! A borderline (pun!) racist immigration policy! Anti-state’s rights marriage policies! An idiotic stance on stem cell research! And, you guessed it, an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade!

*This exchange may not have taken place.
**You can’t prove it didn’t happen!

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Fatty, Fatty, Two-By-Four, Got a Job and Gained Some More

Bad news, everyone–it turns out that employment will make you fat. In what must surely be the most causally determinative and well-respected study of all time, researchers found that your job is responsible for that button-strain you now feel. According to the Boston Business Journal, “Around 44 percent of workers say they’ve put on pounds at their current job, with 26 percent saying they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, per the report.”

Naturally, some jobs are worse for you than others:

The jobs where people are most likely to gain weight include: travel agent; attorney; social worker; teacher; doctor and public relations professional. The job descriptions weren’t ranked, but were grouped by their potential for causing weight gain.

Seemingly, it’s the combination of sedentary work conditions and a high-stress environment that provide the conditions for eating Italian subs every day for lunch. Notably, the study does not comment on the deliciousness of Italian subs or your weak will; hopefully, further research is forthcoming.

In other news, I now want an Italian sub.

So You’re Going to Go to Law School

Um, what the hell is wrong with you? You’re seriously going to go to law school? Seriously?! Even after reading this? Or this? What about this, or perhaps this? Jesus, you can’t be reasoned with. At the very least, consider the following:

1. You will pay an exorbitant amount of tuition.

Tuition has been rising by about 5%-10% per year for the last four years, and is up 71% from a decade ago. But this won’t deter you, because you’re an idiot, and you believe you’ll land one of those coveted BigLaw positions. Except for the simple fact that you won’t.

2. You will not get a job as a lawyer.

That’s right, genius–there are 45,000 graduates competing for 28,000 legal jobs. And you know what counts as a job? Doc review that pays $10 bucks an hour. Or better yet, a full-time associate position that pays less than minimum wage! Not to mention that schools count jobs at Starbucks in their employment statistics, and that this is the reason they’re being sued by former students.

3. If you do get a job as a lawyer, you will not be paid well.

Were you under the impression that lawyers made decent money? How is it possible that you even graduated? Oh, that’s right–you went to Cooley. Even if you do get a legal job, the salaries are shrinking; top salaries are down 10%, and fewer students are getting BigLaw positions–only 18% of graduates are employed by the largest firms. And they probably didn’t go to the shitty school that you’re about to attend. Best of all, your lousy salary will likely make it impossible for you to pay off your student loan debt, which now averages at about $91,000 dollars.

4. Your law school might not be accredited by the ABA.

So, after getting 500 emails a day from California Online School of Lawtalking and Legal Styling, you finally made the plunge. On the bright side, your tuition might be a little lower than Stanford’s (as if you were going to Stanford!). But on the less bright side (the shady side, if you will), your school is not accredited by the ABA, and so you can’t sit for the bar exams anywhere but California. And since California’s bar is notoriously difficult, you probably won’t pass it (because you went to a shitty online school), thus making it really hard to pay back the money you owe. Not that you would have gotten a job anyway.

DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!

“The Banning of Foie McGras”

I will begin by saying that I am heavily biased on the matter of foie gras; I love the stuff, and I find attempts to ban it to be offensive and idiotic. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t fucking eat it; if you try to stop me from eating it, I will slap your grandmother.

Sadly, California just doesn’t seem to value their grandmothers enough to avoid my wrath, and soon enough a full ban will take effect:

July 1 is the start date of the hotly debated and divisive ban, which prohibits the sale of any product derived from the force-feeding of birds to enlarge their livers — the most common way to mass-produce foie gras. (The law was passed in 2004, but included a seven-and-a-half-year grace period.)

Naturally, both chefs and lovers of delicious food are outraged; culinary hero Thomas Keller and other luminaries are currently attempting to repeal the ban while their customers enjoy Romanesque orgies of fattened goose and duck liver (duck liver being the more common form) for what could possibly be the last time in California.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the ban is the rather nutless logic that underlies it, artfully crafted by a man who I strongly suspect of fiercely masturbating to movies like Hostel:

John Burton, the former California legislator who drafted the law, has shot back at the chefs, likening the tradition of foie gras (which dates back centuries) to waterboarding and female genital mutilation.

“Why don’t you tell those chefs to have a duck cram a lot of food down their gullets and see how they like it?” he asked.

Yes, fattening a goose’s liver is exactly like having several adults hold down a screaming pre-teen girl while her aunt takes glass from a broken bottle and carves off a piece of her anatomy. And it’s definitely like simulated drowning to extract information:

“Tell me what you know, you goose bastard!”

“Quuuuaaaaaccccckkkkkkkgargleegarglescream!”

Thankfully, there are those that see the inherent flaw in this argument: geese are not people, Goddamnit!

David Kinch, the acclaimed chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif., who opposes the ban, said part of the problem with the ban’s logic was that its supporters had mistakenly anthropomorphized the ducks’ experience of being force fed. “They imagine a tube being shoved down their human throat,” he said. Rather, he said, ducks have no gag reflex, nor are geese as cuddly as they appear.

Indeed, it’s rather unlikely that a goose or duck will break into song and dance its way around the barnyard while a candlestick plays the fiddle.

However, allowing for a moment the ethical objection to the production of foie gras, it’s worth pointing out what many other critics point out–that factory farming, which is far more ubiquitous in America than foie gras production, is much more harmful to the environment and moreover to food. But, as Michael Pollan rather sensibly noted, “I think it’s really a way for people to feel like they’ve done something without doing anything…there’s so many more serious problems we’re not dealing with.” Thus it becomes a matter of missing the ethical forest for the twee moral tree; that is to say, your stupid ideology is showing.

But really, why bother fixing your fucked university system when you can shit on people for eating delicious food?

The Curious Case of Alaskan Buttons

Recently, Anchorage earned the title of “Worst Dressed City in America.” Personally, I can see it; I’ve lived in Anchorage, and it’s a city that prides itself on a certain classless pastiche of trends that faded months ago (something tells me that bootcut jeans and popped polo collars are still quite popular in Anchorage). It’s the kind of place where ties will make you look like a jackass because your boss is wearing sweatpants and Ugg boots.

Moreover, Alaska is possibly one of the most defensive places on Earth; criticize at your peril those who’ve spent but one year prowling the badlands of the SoNo district (for those of you from the “Outside,” that’s “South of Nordstrom’s”; a kitschy and semi-retarded marketing ploy meant to fool the yuppie wives of displaced oil executives into thinking they’re not in the worst dressed city in America). Thus, I cannot say that surprise is my first emotion upon reading this rather limp-dicked editorial response in the Daily News (the other Gray Lady).

The writer argues that the pathetic stylings of the Anchorage bourgeoisie merely reflect the “spirit” of the Last Frontier:

Many Anchorage residents and other Alaskans decide how to dress based on what they want to wear and what’s comfortable, not the venue or expectations. We know how to dress for the occasion. But often we decide on the nature of the occasion for ourselves.

Going out to dinner? How do you feel tonight? Dress to the hilt or just make sure you go with a clean sweatshirt? Up to you.

That’s right: going to someone’s funeral? Black tie optional for sure; hell, as long as you’re wearing pants it’s a dressy occasion. Promotion dinner at the Petroleum Club? As long as your dick’s not hanging out you’re golden!

Essentially, Alaskans take pride in their bottom-of-the-barrel fashion ranking because it cements their view that they are somehow above the concerns of everyday appearance, and thus better and perhaps more unique than your average “Outsider.”

However, a certain sensitivity to Outside opinion is present in every Alaskan, and this recent dubious honor exposes a common deep-seated insecurity: that Alaskans are but poseurs, no different in their attentive inattention to detail than any bearded Brooklynite hipster man-child.

Thus, the sweatpants and Ugg boots become a signifier of a deeper commitment; they are a costume, a uniform, an identity. Sweatpants fuel the fire of the Hegelian dialectic; in them a consciousness is born, and it fears the Outside. When you criticize you sear the raw nerve that is the Alaskan identity, and you kick the puppy that is their subconscious.

But perhaps worst of all you force from them a flaccid rebuttal that contains the seeds of the truth that they fear the most: “Alaska Girls Kick Ass” is twee as fuck, and they Goddamn well know it.

So kill the bullshit pretense, and for Christ’s sake stop wearing sweatpants to Simon’s.

Education News A-Go-Go!

Boy, I knew that subscription to the New York Times would pay off! Just today there were forty seven billion articles about education, ranging from disturbing to so nihilistically stupid that the abyss will, instead of looking into you, cover its eyes because it’s so embarrassed. First up:

Public Higher Education in California is Fucked:

Despite rising student attendance and years of budget attrition the university system will likely be forced to cut services even further if a proposed tax increase fails to gain approval. Even soaking out-of-state students with further tuition hikes and lowering academic standards (not enough TA’s to grad papers!) won’t solve the problems created by too many philosophy and women’s studies departments; according to John Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Californians “had the luxury in prior years of heavily subsidizing colleges…but like anything in California, the delivery of higher education is not performance based. They’ve created new campuses and programs based on politics and not need.”

When will those damn women’s studies majors learn to stop reading Judith Butler and start creating tech ventures?!!

College Administrators Have Agreed to Stop Being so Goddamn Shady About Financial Aid:

Yes, it’s true–college and university presidents have agreed to meet at the White House to discuss reforms in the ways student loan information is parsed to students; now, students will be provided a “shopping sheet” that provides the necessary information to make an informed decision, rather than the usual documents which obfuscate and cause terrible debt. I know what you’re thinking: how is capitalism supposed to work if the consumer has access to accurate information? This is America, dammit! Go back to China with your “shopping sheets”! And while you’re there, make sure to hand out some applications to American universities (and loan paperwork).

Ignore Anyone Who Tells You that Rankings Don’t Matter:

If you attended the New York Times “College Life Fair” in Chicago, it’s possible that you received some idiotic advice about choosing a college based on rankings; if you did, I can say (with furious conviction) that the morons who told you to ignore rankings ought to be flogged:

The No. 1 rule in the college admissions process: “Ignore the rankings.” This is according to Dave Marcus, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right College — and Find Themselves.”

Jed Hoyer would likely agree. He began his professional life as an admissions officer at Wesleyan University. He said he decided to attend Wesleyan on instinct, and advises students to trust their gut. He said he tries to do the same in his current position: as the executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago Cubs.

This advice is patently absurd; and moreover, anyone who went to a highly ranked school like Wesleyan (as well as an elite prep school) and is now singing the praises of “ignoring the rankings” is attempting to screw you. Rankings matter; do you honestly believe that your Pine Manor B.A. is going to get you in the door over a Harvard grad? What’s that? You’ve never heard of Pine Manor? Neither has anyone else. So go to the ranked school, fuckwit.

Also, if you had to attend a college fair to learn that you should have good grades to go to a good college, and that your personal essay should be free of typos, then you are a complete dipshit who should not be attending college anyway.

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